Posts Tagged ‘Creative writing’

Just a quick blurb as I have been getting tons of emails with authors asking very good questions. Questions have been ranging from where can they find a good editor, can I recommend a good cover designer, how can they spread the word about their new books? Many of these answers can be found by searching through my previous posts as I try to cover many of these topics for everyone. However, The NO Bull Method to Publishing is also available if you’d like to have all of the information right at your fingertips. Thanks again everyone and much success on your literary journey!!!!

http://www.amazon.com/The-Bull-Method-Publishing-Self-Publishing-ebook/dp/B00C2AULJQ/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1383188188&sr=8-1&keywords=The+no+bull+method+to+publishing

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-no-bull-method-to-publishing-k-c-baylor/1114849155?ean=9781626752412

or for more details visit http://www.thenobullmethod.net

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I am mostly known for my reviews of urban fiction and fiction in general but I was recently approached with the opportunity to read a non-fiction title. A bit skeptical about its content I found myself facing a strong desire to read a book I had little clue about. I curled up on the sofa with a cover and my laptop hoping the author didn’t disappoint. The Quest within Me follows the life of its author as he searches for real happiness. You know the kind that doesn’t come from working a 9 to 5 no matter how well it pays or searching for happiness in the arms of a significant other (because they often fall short) To my pure delight it was wonderfully written with real life situations tied together by increased wisdom and a sense that I should be looking at my life differently. I must be honest I have never felt compelled to cry when reading a book but found his quotes at the end very emotional and yes I cried actual tears by the books conclusion.

It’s not often that you find a story unfilled with melodrama and just an unburdening of complaints about life and all of its foolishness so I was pleasantly surprised at the authors guests for genuine happiness with himself and his surroundings. He sought what the world seeks and managed to find a small part of peace I for one envy. I would give this book a 5 star as it is a book I plan to actually gift out to family and friends. An excellent read if you are looking for the path to happiness. My only suggestion was to add a more visually appealing book cover that would actually match the power in the book’s message. Daniel C Davis really has the makings of something great!!!!!

You can purchase your copy in either paperback or kindle by following the link below.

http://www.amazon.com/The-Quest-within-Daniel-Davis/dp/1452567441/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1380685679&sr=8-1&keywords=the+quest+within+me+by+daniel+davis

 

ALWAYS SAY LESS THAN NECESSARY

When you are trying to impress people with words, the more you say, the more common you appear, and the less in control. Even if you are saying something banal, it will seem original if you make it vague, open-ended, and sphinx like. Powerful people impress and intimidate by saying less. The more you say, the more likely you are to say something foolish. 

A passage taken from one of my favorite books The 48 Laws of Power (Robert Greene) I wanted to share with my readers something that has been making me reflect on the power of words. Never has the above statement been so true. I receive lots of requests for reviews and advice and in my line of business I have many people ask for a service only to offer up an explanation of their situation or “too much information” in most cases they are pouring out reasons why I shouldn’t help them. This has led me to begin thinking about talking too much as it relates to writing.

As writers we tend to think more is better. However, it can actually have the reverse effect. I will give a few examples below along with a few reasons why saying less can actually help your cause.

“Talking” too much in your query Letter

A query letter is supposed to be a brief introduction. It introduces a publisher to you, your writing style and the work you wish them to publish. I have noticed the biggest mistake many writers make is over explaining their work. Quick example:

Dear Mr. Publisher, 

My name is so and so and I would love to send you a copy of my manuscript it’s about a man who ran away from home. I am new to the writing game but all of my family and friends think I have potential. I believe you will love it if you give it a chance. There are a few errors I am having worked on but will send it to you and will take any advice you have to help with the finished product……..

I don’t know about you but that clearly reads “Amateur, unprofessional, unsophisticated” and the list can go on and on. When approaching a publisher present yourself and your work professionally even if you are unsure of the writing game.  Keep things short and to the point. Add a bit of confidence but steer clear of overt arrogance. Remember you are coming to them for something but you are a potential asset.

In examining the above example the first thing that should stand out as being wrong is the name introduction and its request. ” My name is so and so and I would love to send you a copy of my manuscript”  Never introduce yourself and then state what you would love to do. Of course you would love to get your book in their hands but so would the thousands of other writers who send in submissions every week. Your introduction should state your name but also tell them who you are and the general reason for your query. By keeping things professional it shows that you are not a newbie in the industry or that you don’t know proper etiquette.

Saying Less Gets You Further

Has anyone ever been intrigued by the silent, mysterious type? They seldom speak but when they do it’s usually powerful, insightful or has a thought-provoking response? They are mysterious and by nature humans are curious and challenge seeking. A person who gives less may find themselves always surrounded by others seeking to figure them out or please them. Now on the reverse of that have you ever been around a person who talks so much it makes you want to run from them. Most likely you avoid them at every opportunity or they may start to contradict themselves. The same goes for writing. Only state what is necessary but do it in a way that it is both professional and appealing.

Never allow your over zealous or uncertainty to cause you to talk your way out of a publishing deal. Publishers have limited time and they are more likely to choose a writer who is confident and self-assured. Don’t give them any reason to say no before they read your masterpiece.

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Note Paper Vectors

I thought it would be cool to take a brief break to discuss my literary process. It may actually be interesting to only myself but I will share none the less. I am one of those writers that seeks inspiration from a variety of sources but music is my creative muse. It has yet to fail me and often creates some of my best scenes to date. When I am writing whether it be a love scene, action or anger sequence I often look for music that matches the desired emotion. I first sit in silence, take a deep breath and then press play. Before I start writing I listen to the lyrics or allow the music to wash over me like a lyrical waterfall.

I usually don’t stop to think of what I want to say but let the music push my fingers forward. I may stop writing when the music stops but I may also press repeat until the scene is over. When I am done I find a friend and have them read. I never tell them what emotion I was  going for. If they say wow I felt in love or wow the character seemed really angry. I get excited because I was able to successfully capture the desired emotion. When I write I become my character. I become their voice and try my best to embody who they are and what they are and what they are all about.

For years music has inspired many creative types including visual artists and sculptors. I love how music has the ability to take you places. It has a way of going beyond your creative processes down into your very soul and changing your perspective. It can calm or enrage, Music combined with writing can actually become a marriage built to last. Simply because music often times prevent writers block, inspire your next theme or create the very feeling you are looking to write. It provokes an emotion that leaves a permanent impression not only with you but also with your readers.

FREE POP ART STYLE MUSIC VECTOR

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“I used Grammarly to grammar check this post, because I didn’t want to share my literary imperfections.”

Are you guilty? As a writer I think we all may have fallen short in the editing department. I personally think I have way more fun simply creating characters and exciting scenarios and absolutely abhor following those necessary but none the less pesky grammatical rules we must follow.

The sad truth is that bad grammar can be the death of a writer especially a self-published author trying to carve their way in this cluttered market. If you’re not one of the select few who receive a contract from the “traditional publishers” you may find yourself in need of a good editor.

Just so you know those select few didn’t start out with wonderfully polished manuscripts. Traditional publishers usually have an in-house editor to polish their manuscripts for them. So us ‘regular folk’ have to find our own way in the world of publishing. There are plenty of services that can be used and some of them are very steep and unrealistically priced. I’ve posted a few of them in a previous post. Below is a listing of reasons you need a good editor along with an affordable solution to the problem.

Helps The Story Flow

How many books have you read that were absolutely polluted with grammatical errors that left you disgusted or completely turned off? Though it may be a bit annoying to remember where punctuation marks should be in a sentence its important. It helps the reader breeze through your story uninterrupted. It also helps them understand the story completely.

Good Grammar Prevents Embarrassment

Good grammar not only helps the story along but it prevents future embarrassment. I know your excited about getting your novel out to the masses. I know you’ve read it a thousand times and can’t see any errors. I know you feel its ready but if you put it out there and its riddled with errors your reading audience will be less than forgiving. They will review your work negatively causing other potential readers to avoid it. (Remember, word of mouth marketing is the best marketing)

Good Grammar Makes Your Novel Competitive

If you want to be taken seriously as a writer you must remove yourself and your work from the amateur pile. This is especially true with self-published authors because the odds are not in your favor. Having good grammar will make your work competitive. It will show reviewers, media professionals and readers that you are serious about your craft. It will also lend a bit of credibility.

If you’re like most writers you may not have ‘Traditional Publisher’s’ money to pay for a high-priced editor.  You may want to give a few of these editors a try.

Grammarly: http://www.grammarly.com/

Scribendi: http://www.scribendi.com/

First Editing: http://www.firstediting.com/first-time-author-editing.php

Urban Fiction Editor: http://www.urbanfictioneditor.com

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Just wanted to share some good news with my readers. I recently released my debut urban fiction tale Platinum Dust (Part One)  which is a part of a three-part trilogy. I self-published through Booktango back in April. (The service at Booktango is incredible by the way) Since Platinum Dust’s release I am proud to announce that I have managed to gain lots of 5 star reviews including reviews on Straight Official, Goodreads and Amazon to name a few.

With such good feedback I decided that I would take the gamble of submitting my novel to a few publishers of the urban fiction genre so I sent over the first 4 chapters, the synopsis and a query letter to their submission departments not expecting to hear back for several months. I submitted to two companies LFF Publishing and Life Changing Books initially and crossed my fingers. Within a few days I received a reply requesting the full manuscript. I was ecstatic to say the least. Then I received a message on Facebook from the owner of Just Wright Publications. He came across my author page and asked did I self publish the ebook and was I in print. Per his request I submitted a copy of my complete manuscript including the book cover.

Within two weeks I was contacted by both LFF publishing and Just Wright Publications offering me a three book deal. They both also thought my ability to market and promote my work was an asset and thought I may be able to work on their publishing team in PR. For the first time in my creative writing career I have two publishers fighting for my attention.

After reviewing both contracts I have decided to sign with Just Wright Publications. They offered the best deal with a three book contract. I am super excited and want to thank everyone who already purchased a copy of Platinum Dust!!!

I have been asked by many aspiring writers how much they should expect to be paid for writing urban fiction. However, this answer is not cut and dry. There are a few things that needs to be taken into consideration before answering properly. Your payout for traditional publishing will be different from the payout for self-publishing. Depending on which route you take your results or royalties will be different. This post is dedicated to explaining the differences or giving you an idea of the amount to be expected from book sales.

Traditional Publishing: Industry Standards

Most publishers use a basic standard of paying out royalties to its authors. The standard is 10% on books sold up to 5k to 10k sold. After that amount it goes to 15%. I must clarify it is not 10% or 15% on retail price. An author’s royalties are calculated after the cost of printing and producing the books. Which in a quick example would look like this

Retail Price: $9.99 – Printing $5.99= $4.00  Author royalties is 10% of $4.00 which is about $0.40 per book sold. If your book sells 10k copies you are looking at roughly $4,000 in royalties same model at 15% is $0.60 per book sold at $6,000 for 10k books sold.

This doesn’t appear to be much however, it can be beneficial if you and your publisher promote your work effectively. That model is looking at the industry standard but if your book becomes a best seller or sales more than 10k copies which is obviously your goal than you can do well.

Author Royalties: Self-Publishing

Real self-publishing requires the author to foot the upfront cost of publishing. If using a printing service you will receive a discounted rate for buying copies of your book in bulk. This is beneficial simply because you can order large quantities and sell them yourself to your audience. An example of royalties under the previous example goes as follows.

Retail Price $9.99 – Printing cost 4.99 (on order of 100 copies) = $5.00 author royalty is $5.00 per book sold. On sells of 10k total amount payable to author is $50,000. In this example there is no need for 10% or 15% calculations because the difference after printing goes to the author.

Which is Better Self-Publishing or Industry Standard?

Obviously looking at the numbers self-publishing would be the better financial choice however, there are some set backs. Using a publishing company allows the writer to just write without absorbing the heavy cost of publishing upfront. However, it is evident in the lower payout on the back in. While self-publishing will allow you to sell your work directly to consumers it requires a lot of marketing to spread the word. Authors who are not dedicated to marketing or doing hard sales may be intimidated with that form of marketing. So 10k sales may seem unreachable.

When it comes to royalties or choosing traditional over self-publishing my best advice is to be sure to select the best option for you in the long run. If you are to shy to market or do any heavy marketing self-publishing may not be the best option. However, if you are able to combine your marketing efforts to that of the publisher you may want to submit to a traditional publisher. They may have more reach and can get you in many doors.

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